An investigation by Times of New Zealand has found that more than half of the abortions performed in New Zealand in 2017 were carried out by women who had children with a previous partner or in their 20s.
A report on the findings from the Ministry of Health shows that women who carried pregnancies to term with a partner were far more likely to have abortions, with a rate of 10 per cent more than the rate of pregnancies to 20.
It also found that one in 10 women aged 15 to 34 had an abortion.
“The rate of abortion is high among women who are having babies with a prior partner or younger,” the report says.
“This is a problem for both women and couples, who have to navigate the medical, legal and ethical issues associated with having an abortion when the partner’s partner is also carrying the pregnancy.”
It says women who experience a “severe medical emergency” should have an abortion before their second child is born, while women with “unexplained medical complications” are more likely than women with normal pregnancies to end up with a third or more pregnancies.
The report also found “high rates of pregnancy termination among young people” and women who live in remote rural areas.
“Young people who live and work in rural areas are less likely to experience any complications or complications of pregnancy related to their partner,” it says.
The Ministry of Human Services said the report was a reflection of “a serious and growing problem” of unintended pregnancy.
“While New Zealanders are generally supportive of the principle of assisted reproductive technology, we know there are a number of barriers to accessing this type of technology,” spokeswoman Natalie Buhler said.
“These include barriers to obtaining the required approvals, the costs associated with the technology, and the ability to pay for the service.”